Odalie sprang down from the mule-cart, shook out her white skirts, and firmly grasping her parasol, which was blue to correspond with her sash, entered Aunt Pinky’s gate and proceeded towards the old woman’s cabin. She was a thick-waisted young thing who walked with a firm tread and carr...
<p>Odalie sprang down from the mule-cart, shook out her white skirts, and firmly grasping her parasol, which was blue to correspond with her sash, entered Aunt Pinky’s gate and proceeded towards the old woman’s cabin. She was a thick-waisted young thing who walked with a firm tread and carried her head with a determined poise. Her straight brown hair had been rolled up over night in papillotes, and the artificial curls stood out in clusters, stiff and uncompromising beneath the rim of her white chip hat. Her mother, sister and brother remained seated in the cart before the gate.</p>
<p>It was the fifteenth of August, the great feast of the Assumption, so generally observed in the Catholic parishes of Louisiana. The Chotard family were on their way to mass, and Odalie had insisted upon stopping to “show herself” to her old friend and protégée, Aunt Pinky.</p>
<p>The helpless, shrivelled old negress sat in the depths of a large, rudely-fashioned chair. A loosely hanging unbleached cotton gown enveloped her mite of a figure. What was visible of her hair beneath the bandana turban, looked like white sheep’s wool. She wore round, silver-rimmed spectacles, which gave her an air of wisdom and respectability, and she held in her hand the branch of a hickory sapling, with which she kept mosquitoes and flies at bay, and even chickens and pigs that sometimes penetrated the heart of her domain.</p>
<p>Odalie walked straight up to the old woman and kissed her on the cheek.</p>
<p>“Well, Aunt Pinky, yere I am,” she announced with evident self-complacency, turning herself slowly and stiffly around like a mechanical dummy. In one hand she held her prayer-book, fan and handkerchief, in the other the blue parasol, still open; and on her plump hands were blue cotton mitts. Aunt Pinky beamed and chuckled; Odalie hardly expected her to be able to do more.</p>
<p>“Now you saw me,” the child continued. “I reckon you satisfied. I mus’ go; I ain’t got a minute to was’e.” But at the threshold she turned to inquire, bluntly:</p>
<p>“Pug,” replied Aunt Pinky, in her tremulous old-woman’s voice. “She’s gone to chu’ch; done gone; she done gone,” nodding her head in seeming approval of Pug’s action.</p>
<p>“To church!” echoed Odalie with a look of consternation s...